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As Congress and presidential candidates trade accusations over immigration reform, advocates and experts urge caution in spreading misinformation; Alabama takes new action IVF policy following controversial court decision; and central states urge caution with wildfires brewing.

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Study finds youth voter turnout higher with mail-in voting

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Monday, October 16, 2023   

States in which all eligible voters are automatically mailed ballots had significantly higher youth voter turnout rates in 2020, according to a new study.

Voters aged 18-34 voted in record numbers in the 2020 elections but six of the top 10 states for youth voter turnout were so-called vote-at-home states.

Barbara Smith Warner, executive director of the National Vote at Home Institute, said younger people have become accustomed to home delivery for most things.

"The ballot comes to you, you have a couple of weeks to spend time on making that voting decision, and then you have a variety of ways to return it," Warner outlined.

More than 50% of young Massachusetts voters participated in the 2020 election. Warner argued democracy wins when young people are engaged and the success of vote-at-home laws should lead to an expansion in more states.

In Massachusetts, any eligible voter can vote by mail but must first fill out an application to do so. Vote-at-home advocates said it is another barrier to getting a ballot in voters' hands.

Warner pointed out online tracking of ballots also prevents voter fraud and enables the state to alert voters of any ballot irregularities with signatures or dates.

"Where as those ballots come in, if there's any problems with them, those voters are notified about that and given the opportunity to cure whatever is wrong with their ballot," Warner emphasized.

Warner added people can always return their ballot to their polling station on Election Day, and vote-at-home policies help shorten voting lines and reduce the burden on election workers.


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House Bill passed with an overwhelming vote of 94-6, with three abstentions. Its companion, Senate Bill 159, passed unanimously with a vote of 34-0. (Chad Robertson/Adobe Stock)

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